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KALEIDOSCOPE

Transatlantic

Symphonic Prog


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Transatlantic Kaleidoscope album cover
3.83 | 353 ratings | 31 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Into The Blue (25:13)
2. Shine (7:28)
3. Black As the Sky (6:45)
4. Beyond The Sun (4:31)
5. Kaleidoscope (31:53)

CD2 (Bonus CD on special edition):
1. And You And I (Yes cover) (10:45)
2. Can't Get It Out Of My Head (ELO cover) (4:46)
3. Conquistador (Procol Harum cover) (4:13)
4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John) (3:20)
5. Tin Soldier (Small Faces cover) (3:22)
6. Sylvia (Focus cover) (3:49)
7. Indiscipline (King Crimson cover) (4:45)
8. Nights In White Satin (The Moody Blues cover) (6:13)

Lyrics

Search TRANSATLANTIC Kaleidoscope lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Neal Morse / vocals, keyboards, acoustic & electric guitars
- Mike Portnoy / drums, vocals
- Roine Stolt / vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, mellotron, percussion
- Pete Trewavas / bass, bass pedals, vocals
with
- Chris Carmichael / cello
- Rich Mouser / pedal steel guitar (4)
- Daniel Gildenlow (1)

Releases information

Label: Inside Out
Release date: January 27, 2014
Formats: CD, LP, Digital and special bundles

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Evolver for the last updates
Edit this entry

TRANSATLANTIC MP3, Free Download (music stream)


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KaleidoscopeKaleidoscope
Metal Blade 2014
Audio CD$17.87
$15.98 (used)
Stolt Morse Portnoy TrewavasStolt Morse Portnoy Trewavas
Metal Blade 2000
Audio CD$9.97
$7.09 (used)
Bridge Across ForeverBridge Across Forever
Metal Blade 2001
Audio CD$9.10
$7.89 (used)
Live in EuropeLive in Europe
Metal Blade 2003
Audio CD$9.52
$7.75 (used)
The WhirlwindThe Whirlwind
Metal Blade 2009
Audio CD$14.38
$11.99 (used)
Transatlantic: Live in EuropeTransatlantic: Live in Europe
Multiple Formats
Metal Blade 2003
DVD$15.93
$7.51 (used)
Transatlantic: Building the Bridge/Live in AmericaTransatlantic: Building the Bridge/Live in America
Multiple Formats
Metal Blade 2006
DVD$15.83
$29.74 (used)
More Never Is EnoughMore Never Is Enough
Box set
Metal Blade 2011
Audio CD$25.42
$39.75 (used)
Live in AmericaLive in America
Import
Imports 2009
Audio CD$40.31
$33.09 (used)
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'TRANSATLANTIC SESSIONS 4: VOLUME 3' CD US $22.05 Buy It Now 2h 32m
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TRANSATLANTIC Kaleidoscope ratings distribution


3.83
(353 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
31%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (20%)
20%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

TRANSATLANTIC Kaleidoscope reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rdtprog
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog Team
4 stars The cd starts with a big epic of 25 minutes "Into the Blue" that contains all the trademarks of the band with a big symphonic sound, some nice vocals, a solid rhythm section, plenty of keyboards parts and some nice guitars soloing. The music goes from a fast tempo to some slower passages were Neal Morse brings the music to a high emotional level. Then the Flower Kings influence is still there with many instrumental breaks, a crescendo building and reaching a emotional peak. While this is not credited, Daniel Gildenlow brings his contributions in the vocal department like every musicians, and we are treated with a nice flute passage that gives a different mood to the music.

"Shine" is a ballad that put Neal Morse voice and the guitar of Roine Stolt in the spot. "Black As the Sky" show Stolt singing and some spectacular bass/drums/keyboards parts that is very original for the band usual style. This will probably be one of the best short songs in their career. "Beyond the Sun" is a nice short song with Neal singing and some beautiful Steve Howe kind of guitar parts from Roine. And then comes the 31 minutes epic that gets a heavier sound and many tempo changes going from slower passages and many moods and styles, some Pink Floyd vibe and some keyboards parts that sound like some jazz stuff of Chick Corea. The vocals parts of Neal at times gets the pop rock style of the 80's. This song has some darker moods, but it's always tempered with some light passages. The final section of the song brings again some unusual style of music from the band with some tasty keyboards parts.

This is another winner for Transatlantic, the songwriting, the musicianship and the production are top notch. All this with a special second cd of covers with a beautiful version of "And You And I" and a interesting choice of songs like "Indiscipline" (King Crimson) and "Sylvia" (Focus).

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Send comments to rdtprog (BETA) | Report this review (#1121686) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 27, 2014

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Given the collective output of the band members, you have to wonder when they will run out of new ideas, but thankfully that time has not yet come! Don't get me wrong: there is still plenty of the expected--and "familiar", to put it nicely--bits, such as Roine going into predictable solo mode (which at this point often sounds indistinguishable at times from previous work), Mike overkilling the double bass, and Neal borrowing, hopefully only subconsciously, from previous materials (i.e., the initial chorus from the closing epic reminds me directly of Wind at My Back from Snow). Neal also serves up his usual share of cheesy and blatty synths. It wouldn't feel like a Transatlantic without these elements!

Fortunately, those are largely nitpicks, because not only is much of the material interesting and exciting, it also features development from the individual musicians. For example, Roine's rhythm guitar work (both the often scratchy tones used and chosen notes) is perhaps the best I've heard from him. Similarly, Mike introduces some new cymbal syncopation, which is the part of his skill set that really sets him apart from many of his peers in my mind. Neal also introduces some new tricks, including breaking out some gritty buzzy synths and even church organ effects, which really helps to re-establish the Flower Kings aspect of the band.

Those guys get most of the attention, but many parts of the epics would feel awfully repetitive if it wasn't for Pete's contributions. Some of the melodies are quite simple, and with Roine and Neal taking turns harmonizing with each other, it would just get boring, save for Pete's excellent tone, mixing, and runs. I honestly didn't know if Pete really had many playing chops--obvioulsy he was quite serviceable, just not something to focus on--until the past few Transatlantic albums, so either he is really stretching out or I was completely wrong! Either way, all the pieces come together very nicely on Kaleidoscope.

Like most folks here, I was interested in this album for the epics, and that's what I'll focus on discussing, as Shine is a bit cheesy and Beyond the Sun doesn't contribute much (although Black as the Sky is certainly a keeper!). In my mind, the epics don't hold together as well as previous attempts. Fortunately, at least for me, they don't alternate between interesting and boring very often. For example, Into the Blue is excellent all the way through the main crescendo two-thirds of the way through. Nice transitions, catchy melodies, and good feel for knowing which sections to extend and play around with. Of course, the downside is that the song probably should have ended there, because the back material is not nearly as interesting, as much as I'd prefer Gildenlow's piece to be. In addition, and this also characterizes the second epic, the "grand finale" reprise is not nearly as impactful as I would prefer it to be, mostly because it sounded better the first time it was introduced.

Unlike Neal's last huge epic, World Without End, Kaleidoscope is simply too long. My edit (yes, I actually go in and edit the song to my preference, for better or worse) is to take the intro (what a fun combination of Focus and ELP-inspired material, by the way!) all the way through the Roine's floaty guitar solo (what lush and majestic mellotron piano combo as well), then move up to Neal's acoustic bit, which leads into the clear highlight of the album for me: those five minutes or so before the final reprise in which the band just progs the heck out. It's simply great: creative, new sounding, tight, and energetic. Prog can be many things, but this is PROG ROCK, and Transatlantic do it quite well. Of course the outro is a bit wimpy and repetitive, but that's nitpick, because it's still satisfying. I would prefer unforgettable epic, but perhaps that's being unreasonable.

Transatlantic might be far from perfect, and the members clearly are not at a place in life that they wish to spend half a year perfecting a top-10 all-time prog masterpiece (though for selfish reasons I would like to hear the result of this was tried!). Instead, let's focus on the positive: these guys are pros, they have great chemistry, their music is very well-produced, and you can tell they enjoy what they're doing. Moreover, I've followed their careers for years and also am happy to support what I perceive to be genuinely nice guys. That's what Transatlantic is for me: a nice, warm prog hug.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#1126480) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 02, 2014

Review by GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I stumbled across The FLower Kings and fell in love with their wonderful, beautiful symphonic prog. While keeping the past present the band makes the most exquisite music. So, having discovered this gem of a band I came into contact with Transatlantic, which consists of greatness from several bands. The Flower Kings included. Their latest album was eagerly awaited by me and when it finally hit the shops I was there at an instant.

Did the album live up to my expectations, then? A lot of people seem to think that this album needs a few listens before it really sticks. Is that so? Well, yes. I think so too. In fact, that is quite surprising, really, since the music is easy to get into. No, that does not mean it lacks complexity. On the contrary. The music IS complex but also quite accessible. Still I found it hard to be overwhelmed at first, unlike my encounter with The Flower Kings. Now I have listened very closely and for several days and I must say that yes, it did take me a few listens but now I do see it's greatness. And it is a great, grand and wonderful album. At least for the most part.

The music is not that far away from what I have heard from The Flower Kings. It has a not so slight resemblance but Transatlantic is a band in it's own right and the overall influences from the various members results in a very pleasant album.

The first track, Into the blue, is a really accomplished piece of music. 25 glorious minutes and maybe the best track on the album, as far as I am concerned. As with symphonic prog in general the song consists of several themes and varies in style from smooth, calm passages to all out and heavy hard rock. Along with the last track this is extraordinarily well constructed music.

The last track, Kaleidoscope, is eqaully impressing. It's 32 minutes of prog is really wonderful. While I do think that Into the blue is the better of the two I find myself smiling like a loon, faced with all this imaginative and engaging music.

The thing with this album is that the two tracks mentioned really should have been left alone. Now I do think that Black as the sky fits in well and suites the album quite terrific, seeing as it is a punchier, hard rocking piece of prog lasting a mere (!) 6 minutes and 45 seconds. The song gives me space to breath and prepare for the symphonic onslaught of the title track. It rounds off the album.

The two tracks I haven't mentioned are Shine and beyond the sky. I like a good ballad just as much or just as little as any man or woman alive. There is no shame in ballads, dear reader. The sorry fact of the matter, though, is that these two ballads really do not match the greatness of the remaining album. In fact, it is not even a question of paling in comparison. It is worse than that. The ballads are just not that good. I find them boring, even. The album would, in my opinion, benefitted from another Black as the sky to lift the album or maybe they should have chosen just one of the two ballads. It really slows down the pace and disturbs the flow of this otherwise excellent album.

All in all, though, this is an excellent and brilliant album. The problems lie in the excess of songs. As far as I am concerned only the two really long, epic tracks were needed. They alone make up for nearly an hour of music. There is no need to push more in there. Or maybe they ought to have put the ballads on the bonus disc that came with my edition? That would have suited the album and the overall experience a lot. Still, it is a great album and really worth exploring. One of the major releases this year, I predict, though slightly flawed due to the presence of the less enjoyable ballads. It would have been such a cohesive affair had they not been on the album and the end result would have been an album worthy of five glimmering stars. The tracks Into the blue and Kaleidoscope are certainly worth exactly that amount of stars.

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Send comments to GruvanDahlman (BETA) | Report this review (#1128191) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 07, 2014

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Transatlantic return with their fourth studio offering, and are now, it would seem, becoming more of a permanent band and fixture than occasional "supergroup".

There are no real surprises on this album, because the very raison d'être of this band is to put into a recorded environment the love and appreciation of the grandiose, i.e. classic symphonic prog, perhaps the most grandiose sub genre of music ever invented. Put it another way, if you loved the first three, you will love this. If you didn't, well stay away, really.

The album's format is more akin to Bridge Across Forever, in that you have three shorter tracks bookended by two humongous epics, the title track to close, and Into The Blue as a gorgeous opener. I love Neal Morse's voice, and he is at his most uplifting here, alongside some lilting Stolt guitar work, and Trewavas playing that bass of his more like Squire than ever, with all glued together by Portnoy. It is 25 minutes of pure musical joy, that never once loses the listener's interest (Kaleidoscope as a track does in parts. I regard it as being at least ten minutes too long). This is the natural follow up to Whirlwind, and, as with that track/album, if you can learn to accept that Morse lyrically is now rather predictable, erm, spiritually, then all is well. Of course, not all do like it, but I can live with it.

Of the three shorter tracks, my favourite is the beautiful Shine, a ballad in the finest tradition of prog power pop, and a great Morse Stolt collaboration. Black As The Sky has Flower Kings indelibly stamped all over it, and is simply good fun, whilst Beyond The Sun is introspective and thoughtful (in a new age Christian sort of way).

So, to the second CD, the now obligatory set of covers. When these started, they were a joy, a treat, an affirmation of the love of the varying influences this group had. Now, though, I am starting to find them ever so slightly tired and tiresome, to the extent that I will limit myself in future to just getting the original material.

I am a little biased here, in that I have never enjoyed hearing anyone sing a Yes song except Jon Anderson, and so it is here. The musicianship on And You & I is exceptional, and note perfect, but, sorry, it simply does not lift me to Anderson heights. Roine is many things. Jon he most certainly ain't. Actually, the same comments apply equally here to Nights in White Satin and Justin Hayward.

In fact, of all here, I find Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (a highlight of a superb Elton John work) to be the most interesting. The rest is, well, alright, but will not, I fear, be a regular player on the Lazland disc player.

So, to a rating. I think the original cd merits a four star rating. Much of it is excellent, and as original as retro symphonic prog can possibly be. The playing is excellent, and most of it holds you throughout. The covers cd, though, is for completionists only. Thus, three stars. Another good, strong, showing. It will, though, be interesting to see whether the next album takes the band into any fresh territory.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#1134770) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 21, 2014

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars Once again, supergroup Transatlantic has continued its string of nearly great studio releases.

The album clocks in at a hair under 75 minutes, and just about three quarters of it are comprised by the two epic tracks that bookend the album. But more about these later.

The three middle tracks are much shorter, and of differing interest. The longest of the three, Shine is the least interesting. It is a standard Neal Morse-styled soft ballad, which, as Morse is compelled to do, is written with those obvious born-again Christian code words clumsily woven throughout, making the lyrics even more tedious than the bland music. Beyond The Sun is a bit better, with some nice strings in a mostly forgettable track.

Black As The Sky is easily the best of the three short tracks. Comparatively simplistic, but highly energetic, this piece comes across like a Keith Emerson homage. With a fairly basic rhythm track, the instrumental section has a wonderfully bombastic keyboard solo section, similar to what Emerson has done over the years in Rondo, Fanfare For The Common Man, and other show pieces.

And back to the epics. Both are highly listenable prog works. And in each, it is easy to recognize where either Morse or Roine Stolt took control of the writing. Always good, but often resorting to passages that sound much too familiar too Morse/Spock's Beard and Flower Kings fans. It's not a bad thing, but I wish these guys would do more to develop a "Transatlantic" signature style, rather than rely on the sound of their other bands.

The two tracks are very dynamic, weaving through countless motifs and themes. Usually this works, but often the transitions come across as forced and awkward. And again, Morse throws in biblical and religious code words that only take away from the music's grandeur.

Still, I rate this upward of 3.5 stars, giving it a 4 in the PR ratings.

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Posted Monday, March 24, 2014

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
4 stars This review could not start any other way without me telling how I got to know Transatlantic and why my expectations are always high when they release a new album.

I discovered the band back in 2005 when, by accident, I found their second album Bridge Across Forever (2001) in a CD shop. I didn't know anything about this band, but I knew Mike Portnoy and I also knew that an album with only four songs two of which were 30 minutes long had to be at least interesting. I bought the CD and I was hooked! After that I had to wait four long years for a new album by the super group. It was worth waiting and when The Whirlwind (2009) was released I bought the special edition without even listening to a single teaser before.

Five years later the group formed by Neal Morse (solo, Flying Colors and ex-Spock's Beard), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings and ex-Kaipa), Mike Portnoy (Flying Colors, Neal Morse and ex-Dream Theater) and Pete Trewavas (Marillion and Edison's Children) was ready to release another album. Much expectation and speculation surrounded their new album Kaleidoscope (2014). In an interview I did with Neal Morse in 2012 (read it HERE: progshine.net/2013/03/interview-neal- morse-re-post.html) he mentioned that he was trying to get the band back together to record another album, it took almost 2 years but here it is!

My version of Kaleidoscope (2014) is the special one with extra CD and DVD, but I'll focus my review on the main disc. Kaleidoscope (2014) doesn't try to repeat The Whirlwind (2009) formula that was so successful, instead the band went back to the Bridge Across Forever (2001) period. Here we have 2 long songs and 3 short ones.

The opening track is the responsibility of the epic 'Into The Blue' and its more than 25 minutes. The intro of the song ('Overture') emulates the opening of 'Duel With The Devil' with the Chris Carmichael cello (yes, the same Chris that played on 'Duel'). The track has all Transatlantic's trade marks: heavy drumming, guitars full of style and melody, brilliant and frantic bass lines, vintage keyboards that tie everything down and lots of different parts in the same suite. An interesting fact to notice: after so many years having Daniel Gildenlow (Pain Of Salvation) as a back-up musician in the live gigs they finally invited him to participate in one of their records, nothing more fair. He sings in the fourth part of the suite 'Written In Your Heart'. I have to admit that despite the fact that the music is indeed fantastic, Neal Morse's lyrics bother me a bit because he ends up preaching a bit (even if he does it in a subtle form). But overall, the track is one more epic with Transatlantic's trade mark and signature on it which is always a good thing to have!

The second track (and first single of the album) 'Shine' is a track that could be easily fit in Neal Morse's new solo album, the difference here is that Roine Stolt and Mike Portnoy sing on it. My favorite part is definitely Roine's vocals always full of soul and with interesting delivery, just the same as his solo guitar on the song. Then comes 'Black As The Sky' and this one is what I would call 'Transatlantic classic'. It has a strong theme in a concise and with a powerful chorus (clearly wrote by Stolt). Probably this is my favorite track on Kaleidoscope (2014)! Unfortunately, the track that gives continuity to the album is 'Beyond The Sun'. I said unfortunately because this track is absolutely weak and in my opinion should have never be included in the album.

Fortunately, the next track we have another great epic, this time with the title-track 'Kaleidoscope' and its almost 32 minutes. Once again the band hit the spot with themes that stick to your head and with choruses that you can sing-along with, but at the same time you have what every Progger that buys a Transatlantic album wants: a little bit of challenge when you listen to their music. The low point on 'Kaleidoscope' comes in the fourth part of the epic 'Walking The Road'. After a part that reminds Pink Floyd we have Pete Trewavas vocals, Pete is a brilliant bass player but honestly he should stick to the backing vocals that he does so well. As a main voice Pete just doesn't have it! But all in all, the result in the end is just great!

As I mentioned before, my version is the special one and brings the main disc plus a CD and DVD bonus, thing that is already normal in new releases. Mimicking their previous albums the bonus CD is filled with covers only. As the previous bonus discs the band released all versions are faithful to the originals and very well played as expected. This time the band covered Yes, ELO, Procol Harum, Elton John, Steve Marriott, Focus, King Crimson and The Moody Blues. It's a great bonus CD! The DVD, also as in the previous album of the band, brings the making of from the recordings of Kaleidoscope (2014), also the video clip for 'Shine' and some footage of the Prog Awards 2013. For me the DVD is absolutely great. I just love documentaries and making of's.

Kaleidoscope (2014) is an album that doesn't break any barrier (they're not really trying anyway) in the superb discography of Transatlantic but the album also owes nothing to any of their previous albums. Kaleidoscope (2014), in fact, is a breath of quality to a musical world that every week releases dozens of mediocre Prog Rock albums, most of them inspired in a fashion where the music seems to come directly from some Pop FM radio instead of actually Prog Rock artists.

The bonus CD and DVD only make Kaleidoscope (2014) more interesting. Buy the special edition! This is certainly one of the great releases of 2014!

4.5 stars

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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Posted Friday, May 09, 2014

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Is this something closer to Close to the Edge?

I'am really happy nowadays as so many prog bands who deliver excellent albums including this one by the supergroup Transatlantic comprising Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), Neal Morse (ex Spock's Beard), Mike Portnoy (ex Dream Theater) and Pete Trewavas (Marillion). I salute this supergroup which its members are all basically very busy musicians with their original band as well as with other projects. I would say Transatlantic is also another project by its member, As I can remember reading from music magazine that the effective writing session of this fourth album after SMPTe, Bridge Across Forever, and The Whirlwind took only something around couple of days (not more than two weeks, I think). Yet , the result is another excellent album as its predecessors. The supergroup's competence has been in creating epic track with a minimum duration of something about twenty-minute plus, as in here with this album there are two epics: one as opener and the other one at the end of the album. The special edition package includes covers of other musicians tunes including Yes, ELO, Elton John, Procol Harum etc.

The opening epic "Into The Blue" (25:13) really blew me away at first spin as it has a superb composition stemming from its good melody, balanced harmonies created by all instruments used throughout the passage of the epic, many tempo changes and time signatures. Most importantly, despite its long duration and many style changes, it still maintain a solid structural integrity. As Portnoy said in one of interviews with music magazine (Classic Rock?) he wanted this album as Close to The Edge of this time. Listening this opening epic I imagine that the supergroup might match its dream to be the Close to the Edge. Even though the opening part of this epic is an ambient music that reminds me to the intro of "Soon" part in Yes epic Gates of Delirium, as the music unfolds I can see the supergroup's high ambition with this Kaleidoscope album. As far as music taste, I have no problem at all with this epic as it flows smoothly and nicely from start to end, blending soft as well as heavy parts nicely. Morse and Stolt work very closely in this epic. This whole epic reminds me to the style of Spock's Beard music even though this one is better in terms of balancing the music and vocal part. Daniel Gildenlow of Pain of Salvation who has been missing since 2011 not releasing album for his band is of course a very welcome for the band. He has been very close to the supergroup and as part of touring member backing on Morse' works, especially. As I do enjoy the epic, I don't feel any sense of being bored with its long duration ...in fact I feel like "why it stops now?" at the end of the track.

The second track "Shine" (7:28) is basically a ballad that does not impress me at all. I think this supergroup should stop producing this kind of music as it really bores me and creates an immediate regret after a wonderfully crafted opening epic. I don't believe these gentlemen still willing to sing this mediocre track any band can produce. But, I really love the third track "Black As the Sky" (6:45) even though it has a short duration. It rocks in style and it's progressive in style. I am impressed with powerful basslines created by Trewavas combined with inventive drums work by Portnoy. In fact I can sense that Pete Trewavas much better play his bass guitar in Transatlantic than in his original band, Marillion. Black As The Sky is my favorite track as well as the two epics. "Beyond The Sun" (4:31) is also not my favorite - too easy listening ...not prog at all.

The album title as well as epic "Kaleidoscope" (31:53) is a great concluding track that also blew me away at first spin. There is segment that reminds me to Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here but it's not something similar. The last epic is really superb and this is the kind of prog music that I expect from supergroup like Transatlantic. The epic starts nicely with a relatively medium tempo music combining guitar, keyboard, bass and drums that come together into one single piece of musical intro. Of course there are parts like staccato style as result of guitar and keyboard work in some segments, augmented by Stolt's guitar solo. It takes relatively long duration at intro without any vocal and the music in itself is captivating until it then inserted by a rhythm guitar portion followed with inventive keyboard work that brings the music moves in crescendo. The vocal line enters at approx the fourth minute. This epic is much more dynamic in style as compared to the opening epic.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. The composition is top notch as it combines good melody, excellent harmonies, many tempo changes, complex arrangement , however it maintains the album as a cohesive whole especially in its solid structural integrity. There two tracks that actually both are unnecessary fillers: "Shine" and "Beyond The Sun" that should be removed from this album. Is this any closer to Close to The Edge? You are the judge. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Sunday, May 18, 2014

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'Kaleidoscope' - Transatlantic (42/100)

For quite some time, I was at a loss to understand why there was such a vitriol against progressive rock. Over the years, I've had to defend my love of prog from my parents, girlfriends, friends and fellow musicians. As it's eventually turned out, it's become clear to me why people might feel so dismissive towards the genre, thanks in no small part to a band like Transatlantic. I've heard proggers sing the praises of this supergroup for ages; after all, a collaboration between members of some of the biggest progressive bands of the past couple of decades couldn't go wrong, right? It's not enough to say I dislike Transatlantic; I think their music exemplifies all of the bad clichés that have made 'prog' such a dirty word to some people. Kaleidoscope is no different. This fourth album is another hour-plus of the Morse/Portnoy/Stolt/Trewavas collaboration resting on their laurels, spouting the same dinosaur prog that they've played their entire career, a style which, in turn, was explored and perfected decades before the band even formed.

I might argue that Transatlantic is only a part of a larger trend in progressive rock to look to the past for inspiration. Even if few hack the 70's symphonic prog aesthetic as shamelessly as these guys do, there are plenty of bands in this genre that choose to operate on more nostalgic terms. I'll admit that there's only been a handful of modern symphonic prog albums to have really impressed me (the latest having been Monarch Trail's debut Skye), but I don't think I'd ever dismiss a band solely on the basis of being retrogressive. I think the style could be made relevant nowadays, but Transatlantic clearly aren't the band to realize that potential. Between two sterile "epics" and a trio of innocuous shorter pieces, I cannot find enough personality to have satisfied a half-hour of music, let alone the 70+ minute slog of prog rock excess and cheese Kaleidoscope leads us on with.

To the supergroup's credit, it's interesting to hear the members' personal touches merged together so evenly. Although the influence of Marillion (manifest in Pete Trewavas' bass work) is seemingly absent from the Transatlantic style, Roine Stolt, Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy have uploaded their signatures to the music in such a way that you can usually tell which ideas came from whom, but where there also never appears to be competition or conflict between the respective influences. Neal Morse's 'nice guy' approach to melodies and overzealous suite structures are arguably most prominent, but Roine Stolt's Flower Kings heritage is more apparent during the instrumentals. Mike Portnoy's drumwork is instantly identifiable, and while his percussion sounds too lowly mixed, his performance on Kaleidoscope is a close mirror of his past work with Dream Theater. Some of his questionable behaviour and antics post-Dream Theater aside, he's a fantastic drummer and gives the most impressive performance of the group here.

Whereas most bands' careers might culminate in one epic suite, Kaleidoscope offers two on the same disc. Even being as cynical over prog conventions as I am, the idea of an epic still really appeals to me; it's a band's chance to push themselves to the very limit and show the extent of their skills. That novelty and significance really wears off in Transatlantic's case where they treat epics with a two or three-for-one deal. The title epic is certainly a better rounded work that "Into the Blue", which seems to slip haphazardly between bluesy hard rock riffs and tenuous instrumental solos. "Kaleidoscope" is a better epic in most respects; the first five minutes offer a pretty solid momentum. As a whole, the suite's parts feel really compartmentalized; there isn't the sort of fluid flow here that would be needed to make the epic feel complete. "Into the Blue" suffers from most of the same issues: twenty five minutes of generally sterile ideas drawn out to fill half a disc. The lyrics are just as heavy-handed as you would expect, too: some nonsense about 'the dreamer and the healer' sounds like cheesy prog rock mad libs, and there's plenty of Neal Morse's trademark Christian sanctimony to go around too.

While it's clear Transatlantic mean to have all sights set primarily on the pair of epics here, "Black as the Sky" and "Beyond the Sun" are the two best-written songs on the album. "Black as the Sky" is as dinosaur prog as the two longer pieces, but it's more cleverly composed and structured; I've got the slight impression that Transatlantic's songwriting would be generally stronger if they put their ideas on tighter reins more often. "Beyond the Sun" is clearly intended to be some sort of extended introduction to the "Kaleidoscope" epic, but it's actually turned out to be the most heartfelt, powerful track on the album. The instrumentation is focused on atmosphere foremost, letting Neal Morse's vocals shine through. I've never been much into his plain vocal style, but it really works here. It's a real shame that the sort of warmth that's hinted at in "Beyond the Sun" never peaks its head out for the rest of the album. By the way, I realize I failed to mention "Shine" until now; it's a saccharine acoustic track and it's like something I'd expect to hear in the ending credits of some 'family values' sitcom. Not my thing. Not my thing at all.

I know Transatlantic are a group of very talented individuals, and I know that I'm part of the relative minority in speaking against them. They've taken the most pompous elements of the old school progressive style and married it to modern-day sterility and conservatism. Most of the ingredients Transatlantic formed their style upon were pretentious and dull, and they've done nothing to press forward, nothing to improve their art or broaden their horizons. It's like a jilted bride who wears her wedding gown until the day she dies; just because you're clinging onto an ideal past doesn't mean the rest of the world hasn't marched on forward. Oh well, for whatever it's worth, as bad albums go, Kaleidoscope is one the best performed I have ever heard.

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Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars When the cover for Transatlantic's latest 75 minute opus `Kaleidoscope' was first released, with all the blue and green colours, it strangely made me think of the Santana band's `Borboletta' disc from 1974. I instantly thought `Wow, it would be cool if this turns out to be Transatlantic's jazz/fusion album', and even the spiritual lyrics from that Santana period would have more than fit in with Neal Morse and Roine Stolt's leanings! Sadly, this was not to be, and instead we have a perfectly decent but utterly unoriginal and even occasionally dull rehash of everything the band has given listeners before, even as good as I've felt those albums have been in the past. Of course it contains all the technical playing, sophisticated arrangements and pleasing melodies associated with the band of professionals, but there's an underwhelming sense of this being...perhaps mere product to hold the prog masses for another year or so?

Transatlantic certainly have their knockers. Those who grumble about the band being so completely retro focused are kind of missing the point at this stage into their career and their solo works. Fans generally enjoy exactly that about Transatlantic, that all four of the musicians pour plenty of their own character into their music, and those same fans admire the love that the band have for those defining vintage days of progressive rock. Those who complain that this is everything wrong with modern prog music, as if prog has ever been `fashionable' in the first place, are deluding themselves! I am perfectly happy to defend a band that is proud of its prog heritage and influence. Morse and Stolt's pride in their spiritual beliefs have inspired and strengthened my own for years, so I'm also more than fine with that element that emerges throughout this music. But sadly with `Kaleidoscope', it's all about diminishing returns, with the band seemingly just going through the motions. Perhaps because the previous album was a comeback they felt the need to prove themselves, as `The Whirlwind' had an urgency and positively crackled with energy and fire compared to this one.

The epics are certainly the strongest works here. The 25 minute opener `Into The Blue' is more or less exactly like the longer pieces on the previous albums, a hugely symphonic prog workout with extended instrumental sections, some orchestrated passages full of epic rises, grand builds, pleasant melodies (one thing Neal Morse can frankly write in his sleep) and a big finale. All the usual trademarks are well in place for this one, just without too much in the way of real excitement. The frantic instrumental opening is well done, and of course the charismatic Neal Morse, simply one of the most versatile and dynamic keyboard players in modern prog, is all over this. His voice, too, is in good form as always, it's just that once the vocals enter, the verse/repeated chorus melodies are not as strong as they have been before. Drummer Mike Portnoy sounds like he's having a great time during the Beatles flavoured section about 12 minutes in, and since he left Dream Theater, we've all been very lucky to have him playing more traditional prog in this band. Pete Trewavas's bass is mixed chunky and upfront like in the glory days of early Marillion and this thankfully avoids sounding like anything on his sleeping pill `Edison's Children' project. The slow- burn instrumental passage of electric piano, mellotron, murmuring bass and a ripping electric guitar solo from Flower King Roine Stolt that runs throughout the 13-17 minute mark is definitely the highlight. Sadly, I can't stand the finale with guest Daniel Gildenlow's overwrought and oh so emotional vocals (yet oddly I enjoyed his time when he was a member of the Flower Kings, go figure), and the verse/chorus reprised outro has a slightly plodding heaviness that doesn't quite succeed.

The 32 minute title track is the album standout of course. There's a foot-tapping quality to the snappy drumming and feel-good joyful vocal harmonies, with dreamy Floydian atmospheres, heavier King Crimson-like menace, thoughtful orchestrated moments and even some singer-songwriter acoustic introspection. Neal lets rip with endless heavy bursts of scorching Hammond, whirring Moogs and jazzy piano, and his lead vocals are very joyful and commanding. Roine's middle-eastern desert swept `Black as Gold' part is sublime with lots of darker tension and blissful group vocals, Mike Portnoy drumming up a tsunami of fury. Sadly despite the whimsical floating psychedelic backing, the `Walking The Road' passage is made excruciating by Pete T's unbearable vocals that make me cringe - great musician, dreadful vocalist. Unfortunately the climactic end is not very thrilling and lazily fades out leaving almost no impression, a bit of a shame. But overall due to the various instrumental runs having a strong build with a better use of reprises and recurring themes, this one is mostly a winner and the best thing here.

Sadly it's on the three `in between' tracks where the album almost grinds to a halt.`Smile' is a clichéd psychedelic acoustic semi-inspirational ballad just begging for a sea of cigarette lighters to be raised in the air at live concerts. Despite a tasty electric guitar solo from Roine in the second half, there's a strong whiff of Dad-Prog to this one that makes me nearly nod off. `Black as the Sky' is more up-tempo and almost playful, full of E.L.P-type keyboard bluster and a catchy chorus, but it's all a rather forgettable if pleasing time-waster - I'm sure it will be great fun at live shows though. `Beyond The Sun' is the obligatory "Classy Neal Morse Christian Ballad", filling much the same spot as the title track on Transatlantic's second album `Bridge Across Forever'. Personally I can appreciate the lyrics, less so the predictable vocal arrangement - nice cello and Yes `Soon'-styled pedal steel guitar though. Overall, the biggest issue is that these tracks aren't even a fraction as strong as similar `straight-forward' tracks on the last few solo Morse and Flower Kings albums. I went back and played several of those discs, and even the less interesting stuff on `Momentum', `Testimony 2' and `Desolation Rose' are all far superior to these.

`Kaleidoscope' is by no means a bad album, and there's certainly no doubting it's performed well by a bunch of musicians who are deserving of their high status in modern progressive music circles. I'd probably say that those who've never heard Transatlantic before will probably enjoy this more than regular followers of the band because it will all be new to them. Either that or it's a little worrying that some fans will adore that it's safe and `business as usual'. But I truly find this one lacking in much inspiration and clear signs of a group in need to a good rethink next time around.

At four albums in, Transatlantic shouldn't feel worried of losing fans by experimenting more and taking a few chances, as in the long run (if the plan is for Transatlantic this time to remain an ongoing project), it's albums that try different things and shake up the formula that are more appreciated than the predictable holding-pattern here. Given the talent of the four musicians, I hold out hope for something more exciting next time around. Come on Transatlantic guys, take a chance and surprise us all!

Three stars.

(Now if only Roine could please put me in touch with his tailor I'd be very grateful, that's a beautiful psychedelic shirt he's rocking throughout the photos in the CD booklet!)

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Posted Friday, June 20, 2014

Latest members reviews

3 stars For those unfamiliar (which, up until a short time ago, included myself), Transatlantic is a progressive rock/metal supergroup consisting of members of Spock's Beard, Dream Theater, Marillion and The Flower Kings. The band comfortably exists in a common ground between those other four bands' s ... (read more)

Report this review (#1211392) | Posted by Daggor | Friday, July 11, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've been a big fan of Transatlantic in the past. The first two albums still stand as really good prog. Kaleidoscope however is them just treading water and is a bit of a disappointment to me personally. I know they can play well, and the music is recorded as good as always, but its just avera ... (read more)

Report this review (#1204410) | Posted by ProggyDon | Thursday, July 03, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars TRANSATLANTIC has become what I call 'Comfort Prog' since to my ears, it's like junk food, meaning it has little nutritional value yet it tastes very good. That's exactly what we get with their 4th album KALEIDOSCOPE which is simply a reworking of all the material they began with their very first ... (read more)

Report this review (#1196977) | Posted by siLLy puPPy | Sunday, June 22, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Transatlantic used to be my very favorite band around the releases of SMPTe and Bridge Across Forever. I was still quite new to prog, and they were exciting, majestic and just very NEW to me. So my expectations were naturally out of proportions when they reunited and released "The Whirlwind" in 200 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1180656) | Posted by FieryEmblem | Thursday, May 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The staggering amounts of material copying themselves and others churned out yearly by Neal Morse and Roine Stolt - in that order, main engines behind Transatlantic (ex-Dream Theater Mike Portnoy and Marillion's Pete Trevawas all contribute and are featured prominently in the mix, but creatively a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1177088) | Posted by Progrussia | Sunday, May 18, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The return of the international prog super group is back! And it's pretty much business as usual. One their last album "The Whirlwind", the band did the unthinkable and crafted a near 80 minute song with interweaving parts throughout. While this ended up as being the bands most successful releas ... (read more)

Report this review (#1160793) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Sunday, April 13, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 9.5/10 Every album Transatlantic should have a higher score than 4:00 here in PA. This is not just fact; it's like a rule . Each of the albums of this supergroup is an event in the history of modern prog . But with his latest offering, The Whirlwind, I was frankly disappointed. Not only be ... (read more)

Report this review (#1157591) | Posted by voliveira | Saturday, April 05, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've listened to this fourth album a few times. It's good. Better than The Whirlewind but inferior to the first two album. The beginning of the CD is not among the best. The first track "Into the blue" is tiring and without very good melodies. The "short" tracks between the two mammoths are reall ... (read more)

Report this review (#1147934) | Posted by Dr. Gothic | Friday, March 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've listened to this through a few times now, and it's definitely growing on me. There's no shocks or unexpected departures of style here, and indeed several sections are very reminscent of things they've done before. I happen to really like their brand of prog and their wonderful playing, so i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1147172) | Posted by benbell | Thursday, March 13, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars STYLE February 2014 Progressive rock. Kaleidoscope is a dynamic and widely varied album of contemporary retro-influenced prog ranging from the stomping, synth lead grandeur of Black As The Sky to the plaintive Beyond The Sun and mostly acoustic Shine. The set opens with the ever-changing twen ... (read more)

Report this review (#1139140) | Posted by Morpheus Music | Thursday, February 27, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Up to this point, the two main songwriters of Transatlantic, Neal Morse and Roine Stolt have over 50 hours of music between them in their respective bands and solo careers. Take into account Pete's work with Marillion, and Mike Portnoy's ridiculously extensive drum credentials you have an expe ... (read more)

Report this review (#1137219) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you like Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings you probably will like also Transatlantic. I think this music is a littl ebit more intelligent than Spock's Beard and a little bit more catchy than The Flower Kings. I appreciate everything I have heard from these bands yet, and some things I admi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1134583) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Thursday, February 20, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It is hard to give a super group like this anything less than 4 stars. I enjoy this new album and think it is solid prog, but only time will tell if it can top my favorite: Bridge Across Forever. I need to listen to it more for it to grow on me, but my first few listens gave me that familiar feeli ... (read more)

Report this review (#1128686) | Posted by javajeff | Saturday, February 08, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, here we have the much awaited, fourth Transatlantic release! Well I can say that I didn't expect the lyrical themes to be anything but Christian dogma, and obviously I wasn't wrong! In fact in the last release, we had the whirlwind - the maelstrom of human suffering - obviously contrived ... (read more)

Report this review (#1127951) | Posted by M27Barney | Thursday, February 06, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Transatlantic does it again with Kaleidoscope. Unlike the Whirlwind which was very Neal Morse oriented, in this album you can hear the influence of every band member. This album delivers on all fronts; it feels like a complete group effort, with vocals from all the band members. The epics are gra ... (read more)

Report this review (#1125586) | Posted by maialaia | Saturday, February 01, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Kaleidoscope is a stunning album. It also takes a few listens before you appreciate just how good it is. The album begins with an epic, Into The Blue, which starts with a quiet intro with birdsong, reminiscent of Close To The Edge, but we are soon into some prog metal which is the heaviest ... (read more)

Report this review (#1124626) | Posted by AlanB | Friday, January 31, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is awesome... I really didn't expect a lot for this work, but man it completly blew me away (I left another album to listen this, and I think it was worth!) I really don't love Flower Kings neither Spock's Beard, but when you combine this they sound like paradise. Oddly enough I still pref ... (read more)

Report this review (#1123356) | Posted by MyDarling95 | Tuesday, January 28, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It took 7-8 listens to fully come to appreciate Kaleidoscope for the masterpiece that it is. Into the Blue is the most accessible of the two epics, perhaps because it contains some gentle melodic moments such as a very memorable vocal section from Transatlantic part-timer Daniel Gildenlow and ... (read more)

Report this review (#1123340) | Posted by TrickedTail | Tuesday, January 28, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Transatlantic has come out with their fourth album. The impressive nature about this band is that they have somehow managed to transend all of their individual "main projects". In short, Kaleidoscope is a masterpiece. Into the Blue kicks off things in a very grand fashion. It assaults your aud ... (read more)

Report this review (#1123306) | Posted by carlhjr02 | Tuesday, January 28, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you love Transatlantic, you'll love Kaleidoscope. "Into the Blue"- The closest "to the edge" they ever got to an epic. Appreciate the choir/string mellotron pads. (that actually pop up throughout the album) Also, some of the heaviest riffs they've put out to date. Reprises of themes. Wraps u ... (read more)

Report this review (#1122442) | Posted by senor | Tuesday, January 28, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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